Board of Directors
ALARA QLD Limited is a public company limited by guarantee with members rather than shareholders.
Jo' Witt - Chairperson
Dip Community Services; Cert IV Mental Health Recovery
Jo’ joined the ALARA Association Inc. Board in 2002, serving as the President of the Association from 2008 until 2013 when she became the Chair of ALARA Qld Limited. Jo has extensive experience in retail including a range of managerial roles. She has recently changed her career focus, taking up a role in the Community Services sector and attaining formal qualifications in Community Services. As a parent of a person with a disability, she has extensive lived experience in a caring role. She is a strong advocate for people with disabilities and their carers, promoting a holistic approach to service delivery.
Cathy Wheeler - Company Secretary and Director
Grad Dip in Computer Education; Dip Teach; Ass Dip Com Rec; Cert IV in Training and Assessment, JP (Qual)
Cathy joined the ALARA Association Inc. Board in 2006, becoming a Board Director and Company Secretary of ALARA QLD Limited in 2013. Cathy has extensive qualifications relevant to her chosen career in Education. She has worked with people with a disability since the 1980’s and in Special Education since 1990 teaching at Lowood, Cunnamulla and at Goodna. She is currently the Deputy Principal at Goodna Special School. She has been a Justice of the Peace since 2000. Cathy brings to the ALARA Board extensive knowledge of services and support for children and young people across the ALARA catchment area and a deep understanding of issues related to the provision of quality support services.
Phillip Bell - Treasurer and Director
Phillip is the CEO of the Ipswich Hospital Foundation. He is also the President of the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He has previously held Senior and Executive Leadership roles in a diversity of sectors including Education, as the Executive Director - Finance and Corporate Services at TAFE Queensland South WWest, Transport, as the Director - Financial Operations and Compliance at TransLink, Financial and Corporate Regulation, having held Senior Executive Roles with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and the Australian Taxation Office, and Law Enforcement, having served with the Queensland Police Service in the Fraud Squad, Drug Squad and Proceeds-of-Crime Task Force. He is a proud Ipswich local and he and his wife are Directors of a family-owned company which has pastoral and agribusiness advisory interests in the Rosewood area.
Robyn Hartfiel - Director
Robyn joined the Respite Care Services (Ipswich) Board in 1998 subsequently served on the ALARA Association Board of Management and continued as Board Director with the transition of the organisation to ALARA QLD Limited in 2013. She has been a solicitor for 25 years and until her recent retirement was a partner for local Ipswich firm M.A. Kent and Associates. She now continues her relationship with the firm on a consultancy basis. She is Secretary of the Ipswich Woman’s Development Network and volunteer solicitor for TASC Ipswich (both not for profit organisations). In addition to her years of experience as a Board member for the organisation, Robyn’s legal background has been invaluable to the Board when considering matters such as leases, real estate transactions, agreements and other legal issues that arise from time to time. Robyn is a life member of ALARA QLD Limited.
Noelene Schultz - Director
Noelene joined the ALARA QLD Limited Board in 2013 filling a casual vacancy. She has had a career as a nurse for 48 years and has held registration as a general nurse. Noelene has worked both in the private and public sector as a nurse with the last 28 years spent focused on working with school-aged children and their families in Community Health. As a keen orchid grower, Noelene has been an active and supporting member of the Ipswich Orchid Society for 14 years, also actively involved in her church commitments. As a grandparent of a child with a disability, she brings to the Board invaluable life skills and experiences. Noelene is committed to building community awareness of issues for people with a disability and their families.
Toni Harrison - Director
Dip. Bus.; Adv. Dip. Acc.
Toni was elected as Director of ALARA Qld Limited at the 2014 Annual General Meeting. Toni is an experienced office and business manager with formal qualifications in the areas of business and accountancy. She has had many years of involvement with the local school community and sporting associations generally in the capacity of Secretary or Treasurer. Toni has had a long-term interest in the work of ALARA and brings to the Board both a new perspective and willingness to contribute to the work and development of the organisation as required.
Margaret Byrne - Director
B. Sp. Thy. (Hones); Cert IV Training and Assessment
Marg joined the ALARA QLD Limited Board in 2018, filling a casual vacancy. Marg brings to the role extensive experience in the area of disability and community services. She was a practising Speech Therapist / Speech Pathologist for 29 years and subsequently worked in a range of key management and project roles for Disability Services at both regional and central office level. In the three years prior to her retirement from the Queensland Government, she held a key role in program and project management including a lead role in NDS Transition Projects - Participant Readiness and Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC). In addition to her knowledge and experience in the area of disability services, Marg brings to the Board a sustained commitment to the creation of opportunities for people with a disability to learn, participate and to be included in their local communities.
Judy Dickson - Chief Executive Officer
B. Sp Thy; B.A.; Grad Dip. Man; Dip. Com Sec Man; JP (Qual)
Judy has over 30 years’ experience in the Disability Sector, initially as a Speech Pathologist and for 25 years in Senior Management and leadership roles. She possesses extensive experience in the development and provision of innovative and responsive services to address the broad range of support needs of people with a disability including accommodation support, respite, day and community access services, lifelong learning programs, employment services, specialized transport services, information and case management services, technology and assistive equipment services and Allied Health services.
Judy has presented numerous papers at State and National Conferences predominantly related to the provision of community-based accommodation support, community inclusion and participation, ageing and disability, transition and retirement planning and the impact of funding and legislative changes on the sector. She has actively participated at local, state and federal levels in a range of consultation and focus groups around issues and initiatives relevant to the disability and broader community sectors and has contributed as a sector representative on State and National Reference Groups. Judy has been an NDS Qld Committee member for the last nine years.
Outside her paid roles, she has served on a number of committees of management for a range of community groups, in the childcare, education sectors and is a past board member of a national disability employment provider.
Anna Berimballi - Chief Finance Officer
Anna is an experienced financial leader with a strong executive management background in large, complex government and not-for-profit organisations for more than 20 years. She previously held senior financial and business services roles within UnitingCare Queensland; and Queensland Health in Corporate, Statewide Services and local healthcare services; as well as in large State and Local Government Agencies such as Department of Public Works, TAFE Queensland and Brisbane City Council.
Her qualifications include a Masters Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Business in the field of Accountancy, and she is a Certified Practicing Accountant.
She has a passion for introducing digital and mobile technologies that improve decision-making
and connectivity, as well as creating efficiencies and enhancing customer experience. On a
personal level, she has lived experience in disability and aged care, supporting people with their
social, economic and development needs.
Michael Howcroft - Chief Services Officer
MHuServ; Grad Cert Disability Studies
Michael has dedicated over 20 years of his career to working with individuals and families with a disability. He has over 15 years of knowledge and experience in working and understanding complex Neurological conditions like Multiple Sclerosis. He also has lived experience as a carer and has worked as a support worker throughout his career.
He holds a Masters in Human Services Major in Disabilities from Griffith University, a Graduate Certificate in Disability Studies Griffith University 2004, Certification in Mediation and Conflict Resolution from the Department of Justice.
Over the last 20 years, he has established many strong connections and built working relationships in both the not for profit and departmental sector in Queensland, NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and Great Britain. He holds a strong interest in the future development and ideology of the NDIS in delivering and meeting the needs of people living with a disability in our community.
With the full transition to the NDIS he looks forward to continuing the development of new opportunities for our customers and growing workforce.
Narelle Schaffer - Manager Systems Support
Assoc. Dip Acc.; Cert.IV Frontline Management, Dip. Business
Narelle has been employed in the Finance area of ALARA for nearly 20 years, holding a number of positions before being appointed to the position of Manager Systems Support. She came to the organisation with extensive experience in finance, administration and training.
Narelle holds qualifications in the areas of accounting and business management. She has extensive expertise in the area of effective use of our client relationship management system and management of the interface with accounting, payroll and statistical functions.
Narelle’s goal is to ensure quality back office support and a high level of customer service to underpin ALARA’s service delivery and continue to adapt our systems and processes to ensure a seamless transition into a new operating environment.